Agency looking to cut down on teen driving deaths

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

When Alabama Fair Housing Agency Executive Director Enrique Lang saw Alabama’s teen driving death rate, he found it hard to believe.

“About a year ago, we found out that Alabama is second in the nation in teen driving deaths,” said Lang, an Alabaster resident. “How could Alabama be second when there are big cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles?

“One reason is because we don’t have a mass transit system in Alabama, so teens have no alternative to driving all the time,” Lang said.

In an effort to cut down on the number of Alabama teen driving deaths, the Fair Housing Agency is sponsoring a teen safe driving symposium at the Alabaster YMCA at 117 Plaza Drive on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 3-4 p.m.

The free symposium, which is open to all teens and their parents, will be part of a series of events across the state presented with the help of GEICO and Allstate Foundation grants, Lang said.

“We deal with any type of need that deals with housing, but we have started adding events on community issues,” Lang said.

The Alabaster event will focus on making teens more aware of possible risky driving practices, such as texting while driving or talking on the phone while driving.

“We are trying to address those issues and turn risky driving behaviors into more responsible driving behaviors,” Lang said. “At the end, we are looking to get the teens to sign an agreement to no longer talk and drive at the same time.”

For more information about the event, call Lang at (251) 660-7733.